Jan 15, 2013 News Comments Off on US court deems jailed EZjet boss a major flight risk
…says Ramdeo admitted to Feds that “he was in trouble”
Embattled owner of the failed EZJet Airlines, Sonny Austin Ramdeo, has been unable to convince United States authorities that he would be available for trial should he be granted bail.
Ramdeo is being held without bond after the Court specifically found that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the “Defendant’s appearance in court as required.”
Several factors were put forward to support the court’s position not to allow Ramdeo his pre-trial freedom.
The Defendant is charged by indictment with three counts of wire fraud and if convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison on each count and, up to three years of supervised release. He also faces, as to each count of conviction, a fine of $250,000 or twice the value of any gross gain to him or victim loss, whichever amount is greater.
Another factor staring Ramdeo in the face is the strong weight of the evidence against him.
By his own admission, Ramdeo, through the testimony of an FBl agent, claimed that he “knew he was in trouble and that much money was missing.”
“…Approximately $24 million USD in funds intended for the payment of wage payroll taxes for over 3,500 hospital employees was unlawfully diverted through a Defendant-owned payroll service to the bank accounts of EZ Jet Airways, a Defendant-owned airline company. The fraud occurred over the span of approximately two years.”
According to the court, during a subsequent corporate audit, Ramdeo attempted to disguise his unlawful activity by creating a fictitious email account and fraudulent email correspondence.
When that did not work, the Defendant packed up his office and left.
After expending considerable resources to discover Ramdeo’s whereabouts, law enforcement finally tracked him down and arrested him in an apartment building basement in Queens, New York.
At the time of his arrest, the Defendant indicated that he knew he was in trouble and that much money was missing.
“The Government presently estimates the total amount of loss as being $24 million, but it believes that the amount may very well exceed $55 million based on the Defendant’s own statements. At present, the Government represents that approximately $5 million is wholly unaccounted for.”
Further, the United States government pointed to Ramdeo’s history and characteristics as another reason why he should be kept in jail pending trial.
“The Court takes judicial notice of the following information in the Pretrial Services Report. The Defendant is a dual citizen of the United States and Guyana. He has visited Guyana countless number of times to visit friends and his former wife’s family. Apart from his travel to Guyana, he has a history of extensive travel to Trinidad, Canada, and Barbados.”
According to the US government, Ramdeo’s known assets include a Florida home valued at $425,000 with $80,000 in equity, but he apparently owes substantial amounts of money for outstanding judgments against him and credit card debt.
At the time of his arrest on December 11, 2012, Ramdeo was the Chief Executive Officer of EZjet Airways, the airline service involved in the alleged fraud at issue. Up to mid last year the airline service offered international flights between New York, Guyana, and Canada.
It did not end there for Ramdeo as the court also revealed a criminal history that dates back to 1999.
Ramdeo has a misdemeanor conviction for petit larceny in 1999, and a 2001 felony conviction for attempted grand larceny.
While the court found that Ramdeo does not pose a danger to the community and is thus not detaining him on this basis, it however found that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the Defendant’s appearance in court.
For one his dual citizenship and extensive travel history to an international destination where he maintains significant ties, combined with the circumstances of his arrest and the large sum of money that remains unaccounted for as a result of his alleged fraudulent scheme, all lead the Court to find the Defendant to be a flight risk.
“Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Defendant be committed to the custody of the Attorney General for confinement in a corrections facility separate, to the extent practicable, from persons awaiting or serving sentences or being held in custody pending appeal. “
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I have been doing columns since 1988. I have been a major columnist with the Catholic Standard, Stabroek News, Kaieteur... more